As Red Sox CEO Sam Kennedy and supervisor Alex Cora sat down for Monday’s year-end press convention, Kennedy began by acknowledging how an already troublesome time took an unimaginable flip for the more severe over the weekend. The loss of life of franchise icon Tim Wakefield was a tragedy, one which’s being felt by everybody related to the Red Sox.
“It indeed was perhaps the saddest day in the 123-year history of the Boston Red Sox organization,” Kennedy mentioned, earlier than occurring to supply his condolences to Wakefield’s household, buddies, former teammates and everybody else affected by his passing. “Losing an icon like Tim Wakefield is an incredibly difficult thing and we feel your pain.”
Wakefield’s loss and legacy loom giant over a franchise that has these days strayed from the beliefs he embodied. Nobody took extra delight in being a member of the Boston Red Sox, and now coming off consecutive last-place finishes the primary order of enterprise this offseason shall be discovering somebody who will help get the Red Sox again to being the Red Sox.
The seek for a brand new head of baseball operations is nicely underway, and Kennedy mentioned throughout Monday’s hour-long presser that this yr’s course of shall be rather more drawn out than the earlier one in 2019 that led to Chaim Bloom’s hiring.
“We plan to take our time, we plan to be very deliberate, we’re going to have internal candidates, we’re going to have external candidates, we’re going to have a consistent robust process that hopefully leads us to the right person, or people,” Kennedy mentioned. “We’ve been underway since announcing the change and we don’t have any set deadline or timeframe, we’re going to go through this process this offseason and we’ll have an announcement when it’s appropriate.”
Though Kennedy wouldn’t identify any particular candidates or what number of the membership had recognized, he mentioned the Red Sox have sought permission to interview sure folks and count on to start conducting formal interviews by the tip of the week or by early subsequent week.
While maintaining an open thoughts so far as what sort of individual they’d like to rent, Kennedy mentioned crucial factor is to seek out somebody keen about successful in Boston and reiterated the membership’s long-stated aim of constructing in the direction of sustainable success on the main league stage.
Kennedy mentioned present entrance workplace members will take the lead on operating baseball operations till a rent is made, and that choices on the membership’s current teaching employees shall be made within the coming days.
“Those conversations will be ongoing in the days ahead,” Kennedy mentioned. “Primarily staffing decisions will be handled by (Brian O’Halloran) and Eddie (Romero) and Alex (Cora) talking about next year, so early days on that front but those conversations will happen in the days ahead.”
Kennedy additionally reiterated that Cora will return as supervisor in 2024, however past that he and Cora each mentioned they’ll handle a possible long-term contract extension “at the appropriate time.”
Plans to honor Wakefield within the works
With the information of Wakefield’s loss of life so recent, the Red Sox mentioned they plan to honor the longtime pitcher within the weeks and months to return, however for now nothing particular has been finalized.
That contains the potential of retiring Wakefield’s No. 49, which has not been worn by every other Red Sox gamers since his retirement in 2011.
“No talk about anything specific yet but we’ll keep you posted on that,” Kennedy mentioned.
Whether it’s a quantity retirement, a pregame ceremony, a patch or some mixture of issues, Kennedy mentioned no matter they do to honor Wakefield shall be as inclusive as attainable in order that followers can have ample alternative to take part.
Seeing that 2004 will mark the twentieth anniversary of the membership’s first trendy World Series championship crew, Kennedy was additionally requested if former pitcher Curt Schilling shall be welcomed again for these festivities, given his latest public conduct and particularly his position in disclosing Wakefield’s most cancers with out permission.
“I appreciate the question but not something I’ve given one minute of thought to, I’ve just been focused on Wake and his family,” Kennedy mentioned.
No touch upon payroll
While the Red Sox have historically ranked amongst baseball’s high spenders all through the present possession group’s tenure, this yr’s Opening Day payroll of roughly $225 million solely ranked twelfth in MLB and 13% above league common, by far the bottom since 2002.
Will the Red Sox flex their monetary muscle groups this previous offseason and lift payroll? Kennedy received’t say.
“We definitely aren’t going to talk about our plans for major league payroll,” he mentioned. “I don’t know why other clubs do that but we do not want to tip our hand to our competitors and talk about major league payroll.”
Kennedy reiterated, as he has often previously, that the entrance workplace has all the time been given the assets it must succeed. The drawback sometimes has stemmed from how these assets are allotted, however going ahead the membership has the monetary flexibility it wants to perform its targets.
How a lot the membership invests in payroll going ahead, or whether or not or not followers can count on any daring acquisitions, will most likely rely largely on who winds up being employed as the brand new head of baseball operations.
Cora challenges teaching employees
Last yr on the season-end press convention, Alex Cora was requested who he hoped to see probably the most enchancment from over the next offseason, and earlier than the reporter had completed asking the query he responded “Alex Verdugo.”
This yr, requested the identical query, Cora pointed the finger squarely at himself.
“We’ve got to get better. We’ve got to push these guys to be a lot better,” Cora mentioned. “That’s my challenge this year, me and the coaching staff, we have to be better.”
Cora mentioned he and his coaches met earlier Monday and the primary dialogue was how can they assist their gamers enhance.
Will that embrace modifications on the teaching employees itself?
“I don’t believe so,” Cora mentioned. “I think we just have to be better.”